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Minimalism with Meaning :: The Story of Us

Last September I led our Bee Sewcial group.  My mission was to make two blocks in blacks and whites that said something personal about them.  I asked each member to embrace minimalism in the process.

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The stories they told me were rich and meaningful.  They described loss, triumph, compassion, family, recreation, personal identity.  Honestly I felt a little overwhelmed with the task of putting these meaningful pieces into something worthy of the sentiments.

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In the end, I decided to continue the minimalism theme and connected the blocks with extra negative space.  The words spoken when describing these blocks became the quilting motif in free motion quilted cursive writing (the first I have done this but certainly not the last).  The whole was surrounded with quilted borders and a gilded binding (purl soho mineral linen which sparkles when seen at an angle) to enhance the theme of story.  I want it to read like a well worn and treasured book.

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I hope that I have done these ladies justice in the making of our collective story.  Since it is so hard to read, I have included the quilted words for you below.

 

Minimalism with Meaning :: The Story of US
Positivity engages the negative space :: These are little womb blocks. The white ones represent pregnancy loss which is real but not talked about. The black ones are my obvious births, which are obvious and find it easy to see and talk about. The reason for the one with the white square with the black one is a permanent loss of being able to have a child from one side from the ectopic pregnancy I had in my tube. I love my two children with all my heart and grieve what could have been with my two lost babies :: Tall, strong, bend but not break ::When we are together, we are stronger :: My life can be best described as a wonderful mixture of family, work and my creative pursuits :: When using the right tools you can see things a lot more clearly. For me, it’s glasses (since I was 9) and calm. When life is chaotic for me, I get lost in the details. When I establish calm, I see better :: Frustration. From sun up to sundown I’m frustrated about any and everything and nothing at all :: Embrace: More expansive then a hug and open ended to be all inclusive :: Sometimes I feel like a square peg in a round hole :: A Quilter’s Table because that is me :: For me when it gets too active, too chaotic at some point I shut down and like a clean break BAM nothing gets done, nothing good happens, except I don’t get overwhelmed :: The top row signifies my family in height order and for now in this moment in time I am second in line. The shadow casted beneath our figures represents the amount of care required by each of us at this point in time. It is such a fleeting point of life but such an important one and I know I’ll never make anything as wonderful as my three children :: The pool is my favorite place to exercise so this is my interpretation of the swimming symbol :: Ascend as I am not one to begin anything by taking baby steps. If the stakes are high enough and you are determined success or fail you will take that leap of faith because it is your only option :: I am modern stepped in tradition :: My personal mantra is to look for the positive. light in the darkness as we need that positivity these days :: The balance of keeping focus looking ahead in life instead of behind but also being aware of your surroundings in a broader sense and how occasionally glancing back is a good and necessary thing :: A hint or clue a circle nature’s impossible shape standing out of the expected spot not perfect but industrial modern and minimalist :: In me you will find the place where science and art meet in the middle :: It’s about letting life’s annoyances roll off your back
Bee Sewcial 2015

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Hillary

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Mini-Mes

Last year I was challenged by Catherine (@knittingcatherine on IG) to a mini quilt swap using mostly repurposed or me-made materials.  In typical fashion, my mind came up with several ideas and I am sharing the fruit of 4 such finishes here (all of which let me “try on” different quilting styles I have been eager to test).  There are two other quilts made of my old tshirts that are part of this series but they and the concept of tshirt quilting are worthy of a post of their own.

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For my first quilt I grabbed some dress clothing in linens and silks that I never wear, chopped them up and reconstructed improv style.  They are much more attractive on a quilt then on me.  I also “tried on” some nontraditional hand quilting and made random “ant trails” along the piece.

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For my second quilt I wanted to play with Nicole Daksiewicz’s (Modernhandcraft) appliquéd hexie technique but decided to make my own spin with pieced hexies.  For this quilt I used some of my old scrubs, an orange shirt and a hospital sheet.

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After introducing a tertiary pattern and playing a bunch of designs I came up with the mini quilt below.  This is the one that ended up in Catherine’s hands and I call it “Colliding Migrations”

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For the last two quilts, I used some material I had hand painted over the summer and layered using a raw edge appliqué to show off unusual shapes.  These quilts have a lot of hidden meaning for me involving self reliance and the concept that things are rarely “Black or White”.

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Are these quilts my style?  YES as complex, varied and flawed as my style can be.  Are all of them masterpieces? Nope.  Did I learn from them? Yes, yes, yes!

Have a great weekend.

Hillary

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Molly Made Me Do It

Hi there!  Missed you my friends.  Clearly I have been hanging out on IG (you can find me there @entropyalwayswins) but life has recently gotten a bit busy for blogging somehow.  In any case I wanted to introduce you all to a new quilt I have been working on.

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About a year ago, I was in SF and noticed a building with wonderful long thin windows.  Though I didn’t take a picture, they were similar to these windows here I saw with Stephanie Ruyle and Christine Perrigo in Austin at Quiltcon 2014.

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Fast forward to the last couple months when I pulled out some shot cottons, woven striped fabric and left over bits of yellow fabric and started making some blocks with these windows as inspiration.  I made up a new (at least new to me) piecing technique that I call Tethered Y Seams and intentionally changed the grain orientation on the tops and sides so as to add visual interest.

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The blocks started to get especially fun when using the striped fabric and different angles, giving a fun 3 dimensional effect.

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As I was sharing these on Instagram, someone introduced me to The Chapel of Notre Dame de Haut in Ronchamp by architect Le Corbusier.  Proving that there are few truly new ideas, I had been unintentionally channeling the lovely windows from this amazing building.  And as I was sewing up the last seam on my quilt top, I started to realize how different this quilt top was for me.  SO MUCH PURPLE!  I never use purple.  Absorbed in my pondering,  the amazing quilts of Molly Upton featured at Quiltcon 2016 came to mind.  Somehow this quilt top (though clearly much more humble in execution) reminds me of her work in color and style.  We are subliminally absorbing so much I believe.

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And there it is, a quilt inspired by a local building, a crazy cool church in France and a gifted, now gone Modern Quilter : “Molly’s Windows”.  Now I’m hoping Molly will inspire me how to quilt it.

 

Hillary

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Fly Merel Fly :: A Community Quilt for Merel van Looi

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Merel van Looi is a quilter and fabric shop owner from the Netherlands I have gotten to know online.  Unfortunately we did not connect at the last Quiltcon but the picture above on the right shows her working as a volunteer.  Tragically earlier this month, she suffered some bleeding around her spinal cord and for the moment has limited movement of her legs.  When I heard of her recent health crisis I was so saddened and reached out to her asking if she would be open to me organizing a community quilt project for her and she said YES!

I have often said that those are discouraged about the state of the world need to start sewing and become involved in their local and online sewing communities.  Sewists and quilters are some of the most generous and creative people I know.  This fact was made even more evident as I was plotting and planning this group project.  Krista Hennebury (Poppyprint) if you don’t already know is a master quilter and teacher, an all around wonderful person and friend.  Merel said online that Krista’s amazing “Blackbird Fly” quilt (an award winner at Quiltcon 2015) meant a lot to her as she hoped to “fly” again someday even if it was in a wheelchair.  I mentioned that I was going to plan a quilt for Merel and Krista brought up the work of Kajsa Wikman (home – Syko Design).  Kajsa’s style, raw edge appliqué with black thread at this point is fairly iconic and has been much copied and repeated.  She published the book Scandinavian Stitches which I quickly ordered online.  Krista contacted her friend and Kajsa not only gave me permission to use her sweet wonky birds as inspiration  (Merel in dutch means blackbird and her IG handle is @merel_birdblocks) but hopes to contribute a block too (she also knows Merel- I love how small this quilting community is and did I mention how generous quilters are?)  These sweet birds are so cheerful and I hope will encourage Merel in her recovery.

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Knowing I would need additional help I reached out to my friend Rachael Dorr (www.quiltingamemory.org) who agreed to long arm quilt this quilt I have planned.  Her work is AMAZING  and this quilt will be extra special because of it.

HOW CAN YOU HELPT?

I am looking for as many people who are interested to make 8 1/2 x 8 1/2 inch appliquéd blocks inspired by Kajsa’s birds and get them to me by May 23rd (that gives 8 weeks for blocks to be made and delivered to my doorstep).  My hope is to assemble them and get them then to Rachael to quilt by June 1st.

DETAILS and HINTS:

-8 1/2 x 8 1/2 inch blocks (be sure to leave a quarter inch appliqué free around all sides to allow for seam allowance) The blocks will be 8 x 8 inches finished.

-White fabric background (Kona white if possible)

-Cheery prints to be used for the appliquéd birds (this is a perfect project for scraps).  I would love to have birds that are simple and FLYING like Kajsa’s but I am also happy for you to make them your own, and even add encouraging stitched words for Merel if you like.  An example of Kajsa’s birds is below and they also can be found at her flickr page (https://www.flickr.com/photos/sykossa/4567924620/in/album-72157601967630500/)

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-Use black thread for your appliqué and shorten your stitch length

-Use fusible webbing like steam a seam to initially attach your appliqué bits before stitching

-if you feel compelled to use stabilizer on the back, please use tear away or cut away so that it is only around the appliqué

-so as to prevent stray black threads from appearing in the back, please tie off and bury loose ends in the appliqué (see pic)

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-I have a suspicion that there may be more then enough blocks for one quilt and I will not turn anyone down who is interested.  If that is the case I may be looking for someone to help me quilt up a second quilt (longarmers keep this project in mind)

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If you are interested in contributing, please email me at entropyalwayswinshg@gmail.com and I will send you my address and add you to the list.  Tag your pieces with the hashtag #flymerelfly on IG so everyone can see what you are up to

If you feel like you want to do more for this sweet girl, I am sure she would love cards or small gifts of encouragement.  The address at the rehab hospital she is at is:

Reade locatie Overtoom / Merel van Looi /113-B1 / Postbus 58271 /1040HG Amsterdam

Thank you so much everyone!!

“Fly Merel Fly”

 

Hillary

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Layers :: Bee Sewcial Theme for March

As a novice photographer, I have discovered that some of my favorite captured images have both an interesting foreground and background.  Over the last several months I have been playing with the same concept in quilting and am anxious to see where other people take it.

In March I would like my Bee Mates (#beesewcial on IG) and any other interested folks (#inspiredbybeesewcial on IG) to make the equivalent of two 12×12 inch blocks (loosely defined as I am good with wonky shapes and strange sizes) exploring the idea of layers (components that appear to be in the foreground and components that appear to be in the background) in your block design using the colors of this peeling paint image by Richman as a guide.  There are several ways to do this and you are welcome to look at my feed on IG to see what I have done but honestly I am most interested to see where YOU take it.  Please bring at least two “layers” to your design but you may add more.  For consistency in a quilt, I ask that you use specific colors in the foreground and others in the background.  With the Kona Color Card as a guide and following the Richman picture:

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Background: (Turquoise/Blues) Cyan, Breakers, Capri, Robin Egg or similar with or without traces of black

Foreground/Middleground: (Oranges/Greys/White) School Bus, Carrot, Flame, Ash, Medium Grey or similar and traces of Papaya, White

If you choose a Medium layer/layers use the foreground colors leaving the blues and turquoise colors only for the “back”

Note:  If you have studied Albers, you will know that the cool blues will “want” to read background and the warm oranges foreground.  Color choices themselves help us define layers.  Because of this I am setting the color layer choices opposite of what they physically are on the picture.

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Feel Free to check my Pinterest Board for image ideas that inspire me:Pinterest: Discover and save creative ideas

Don’t forget to tag your makes with the #beesewcial tag for my bee mates and #inspiredbybeesewcial for anyone else who wants to play along

Hillary

 

 

 

 

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Opioids and Y-Seams

Last Year our county was awarded one of twelve grants by the California Opioid Safety Commission to help educate the public and medical community on the increasing use and danger of both prescription and street narcotics.  The Commission got wind of my 5/325 quilt and invited me for an interview.  The results of that interview can be found here (you can find the link below my picture): Placer Nevada County Medical Society – Just another WordPress site

The fact that this statement piece is getting recognition in the medical community is pretty satisfying.  Even more exciting is the fact that it is getting the word out about the narcotic dependence and addiction issues in the general community.  (It was on display in Houston at the International Quilt Festival, will be shown next month at Quiltcon in LA and will be featured in the Quiltcon Magazine).  I am scheduled to speak (with my quilt if it is available) in April at our hospital medical staff meeting and there are some other venues pending.  Who knew that my crazy idea would get so much play?

Hillary

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2016 :: Care More/Care Less

 

2015 has come to a screeching close leaving me breathless and a little bewildered.  In effort to spend some concentrated time with my family I always work Dayjob a lot over the holidays.  Now with some precious time off and much needed sleep under my belt I feel like I can reflect and make plans.

In some respects on my creative journey, 2015 was fairly momentous.  I participated in my first quilting bee (Bee Sewcial).  The monthly prompts expanded my maker’s bag of tricks exponentially and forced me out of my creative comfort zone-so good.  I have no clue how these talented people picked me to join them but I am forever grateful and look forward to another year of the same.

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I both visited and participated in my first Quilt shows.  My quilts were featured in a magazine for the first time.  With the help of my friend Robin, we won our first sewing contest with Umbrella Prints Trimmings and my quilts were featured for the first time in a gallery.  To my amazement some fabric designers/companies sent me fabric without expectation to play and create (I hope to find some time soon to show more the results of those gifts).   I was involved in some meaningful collaborative work with talented people.  And of course I made a gazillion bags and several quilts.

In other respects however the year was similar to most, making and exploring.  In 2016 there is important work to be done.  Most notably my “Nude is Not a Dress Color Project” which was set back by collaborative side steps is calling to me.

In looking toward the new year a common theme comes up for me:  Care More :: Care Less.

:: Care more about the process and less about the end result.

:: Care more about the message in my makes and less about whether other people understand it.

:: Care more about the art and less about the shows.  (As a side note I was fortunate to have 4 quilts chosen to show at Quiltcon 2016 and am part of one Bee Sewcial quilt that will be showing-yay Debbie.  Even with this I struggle to see myself as a Quiltshow person.  Despite the fact that everyone I have met participating in the process is talented and worthy and that these show are gorgeous displays of art, I can’t shake the “beauty queen” image in my mind.  Does that make any sense?)

:: Care more about the whole community and less about the stars.  I love this sewing community and hope to give more back in the way of some free blocks/patterns I have planned.  It is nice to get attention and adulation from the “superstars” of the industry but we are all worthy and on the same journey.  I hope to concentrate more on that.  I know I am remiss in responding to comments here (did I mention my Dayjob and momjob?) but I hope to be better.

Thank you for being part of my 2015 and I look forward to traveling the road together in 2016.

P.S. The block featured at top is a new design concept I am exploring.  More to come.

Happy New Year

Hillary